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Laura Hillenbrand Education. (2013) 'Seabiscuit An American Legend.' New.

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Johnson 14, Ronald Reagan 8, America 8, Jimmy Carter 6, Harry Truman 6, Lyndon Johnson 6, Us 5, George W. Bush 4, George Wolf 4, Saratoga 3, George Bush 3, Richard Nixon 3, Obama Administration 3, Providence Rhode Island 2, England 2, New York 2, Dhaka 2, London 2, Truman 2, Medicare Expansion 1,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Laura Hillenbrand  Education.  (2013)  
   'Seabiscuit An American Legend.' New.  

    January 6, 2013
    6:00 - 7:00pm EST  

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.. america during the days till the conditions facing many during the great depression. this is about 25 minutes. >> of course the title star of the book is seabiscuit, himself. this horse was not exactly on the road to the triple crown.
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>> he was as unlikely a champion as seen come any sport. physically he was nothing to look at. he had a great big knobby of knees, his neck was too big, he had a big hammer head. he had this flailing motion when he ran as if he were swatting flies. they tried to give him away and was rejected by how bad he was. >> the day that charles howard discovered seabiscuit -- tell us how charles was first introduced to this horse. >> he and his wife were sitting up in the grandstand. saratoga was the lowest level of horseracing going on. he looked down at a very ugly horse and so did his wife and
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they were watching him and he that hurt eliminated the horse would win and she felt this was silly and said no and took the best but said he wouldn't win and he did. they shared their lemonade and they both had a tradition and he was a man whose intuition was superb to be if he could recognize potential and he liked this horse. there was something about him. he told the trainer to look at him and he bought him. >> the headbutt. >> they went back to look at the horse and they recognized him from having seen him early in his career. he liked the personality of the horse. he had lost and lost and lost. but there was something about him he liked. he brought charles howard over to the barn area and said you better look at him. the horse gave him a big headbutt. >> there are -- i think
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personally there are probably three climaxes' to this book. war data model and brand and frankly how you piece together almost how you put the and to get their. we certainly don't have enough time. those of you that haven't read the book if there are any of you that haven't read the book yet, don't want to give it away but i do want to talk about the match race which after reading your book and studying this, this race sounded like the super bowl would be today. >> there were 40 million people listening to the race between seabiscuit and corev oral, a triple crown no rival. they were rifles and it took years to put this together. 40 million people will listen in on the radio. that's one in every three americans. >> including the president that put the staff on hold. >> he had his cabinet sitting in the room waiting and he was
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listening to the horse race. >> you had to read about the special trains that were coming just for the matches like this. sort of describe the festive environment of the match such as that. >> i spoke with a man that a range of the match race who died a couple of years ago, and he said this was an event that every single person in america cared about, and it was in every single newspaper. i went through hundreds of papers and you can see it in virtually every single one, a big front-page stories people speculating and getting angry about it, the whole nation divided up. on race day we got 40,000 people and there was only seat for 16,000. 10,000 people were out of the gates hanging from trees and sitting on offenses in the room to see the race and all the people we spoke to that were there that day for all kids at
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the time said that was the greatest sporting event they ever saw curious connect you have seen probably every photo imaginable, but for those of you describe that photograph for me. what is this? >> that's the start. they had the starting date because the war admiral was a high strong horse at the gate and that is the top of the stretch. >> for those of you that are here we will pass this around. but take a look at the fence behind the horses. these people are ten rows deep standing outside of the tract watching this race. what is incredible about this is how this country stood still for races like this. horse racing at the time is it safe to say that this may have been the true first national past time before the baseball?
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>> i was a horse racing is quite an old tradition in america. it dates back into colonial times. it was a move is part of presidents and this was a combination of quite a long time of horseracing in america. >> so you have some special talent here today. tell us what those are. >> azar seabiscuit's shoes. >> we will not be passing these are around. [laughter] >> those are very big feet for a thoroughbred. a friend of mine that wrote the biography secretary at a outweighed seabiscuit by me be 300 pounds and was much taller and his shoe could have fit inside seabiscuit's shoes. >> we are with laura hillenbrand. we are going to take some questions in the audience.
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have your hand up and ready to go. >> if c diskette -- if seabiscuit were [inaudible] >> i think most of it was heart, his desire to win which is simply phenomenal. they had never been around a horse that tried so hard to win. the jockey said of him you can tell him before you quit. i think that was it. >> you didn't personify or attribute a lot of human emotion to the behavior. i was wondering if that is a challenge. i want to speak to one behavior that you talked about which is you said that they had the competitors force when they were racing seabiscuit would pull back a little bit and then search for work towards the end.
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i find it very interesting. how do we know that he did that deliberately? [laughter] >> one of the fortunate things about writing the book at the time is there were a few people at a time i spoke to people that wrote to him very regularly and they swore up and down this horse was cheating his opponents, that he would get up next to them and deliberately slow down and snort in their faces. he would let them get a little bit ahead and then will buy them at the last second. you can come if you spend time are now horses, you see the understand competition. they enjoy it and they understand when they have won or lost, and this horse was a highly intelligent horse and he clearly understood it. >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> one of my favorite passages in the book was bill leon when you decided to talk about
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[inaudible] you seem to have a lot of talent. do you ever consider writing fiction? >> thank you so much. that is a huge complement. it's what i enjoy the most, the description of things and small things especially, trying to capture what they are. i think sooner or later i will write a novel. certainly when i was a teenager i would write obsessively addiction. i didn't think when i was a teenager i would end up writing history, but i kind of fell into it. >> first of all, thanks for writing the book. it's a great read. i couldn't put it down. >> thank you. [applause] you talk about seabiscuit's heart and that is clear throughout the book.
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who was it [inaudible] >> george wolf did a lot of very detailed interviews about that match race, and i had a wonderful luxury in writing about this match race in that everybody did he tell the interviews. everybody talked at great length about things coming and george was a very observant man. and he would tell you very tiny things about what horses were doing that could tell you a lot. which way a horse's year was pointing in which we he was looking and that's where i got that from. >> [inaudible] >> i was wondering if it was still a race track. >> it's the most beautiful race track in the world of very much like it was then. it's the same color and in a very high class race through much of the year the mountains
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are still behind it and it is just lovely. >> right back here. >> "seabiscuit" is the best book i've ever read. [applause] >> it's engaging, it's an engaging book. it puts you back in time. i felt like i was living with those people. it's just a phenomenal book. having said that, i would like to know why do you think that seabiscuit didn't run the triple crown of freezing? >> that's one thing i wish i could do differently in writing the book is to let more clearly and put in later editions of the paperback. the triple crown is only open to three-year-old horses and when seabiscuit was three, he was simply awful, no where near fast enough to compete.
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the stablemate was the favorite for the derby, and i believe the days that he ran in the kentucky derby seabiscuit was only $25 in the race in new york. so he just wasn't good enough then to read had he been in the hands of tom smith at that point i am almost certain he would have run the triple crown quite easily. this cannot right over here. >> i have a couple of questions. why was he named seabiscuit, and the second one is i'm sure if you had a lot of photographs to choose from and why is it you chose that one? >> the first one is "seabiscuit" is the source on ships and it's a cinnamon and it's also a play on the name of his grandmother so it worked pretty well. the cover i get asked about every day of my life random
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house the art director chose it and i had the same reaction which is where is the horse's had to get my first reaction this is like doing a book about rin tin tin and showing somebody holding a leash. the biggest thing i was trying to do in this book i knew that horse people would read it and i didn't know if anybody else would. so we wanted to -- i wanted to focus as best as i could on the people in the story and show prospective leaders that this is a book about people. so, we used to that photograph coming and i think it worked. because it had a general audience i don't know if we had run that entire photograph if we would have. >> right over here. >> thank you. i want to thank you also for writing the book. i read it twice. [inaudible]
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first purchased and as the statute [inaudible] if you go back there and seabiscuit is there and they showed a sign of that's their, too. but the second time i read the book i cried a lot to read the second time i did and [inaudible]
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can you tell us a little about that? >> the movie done by universal pictures and i believe dreamworks is producing it. they are going to start shooting in six weeks. tooby mcguire who played spider-man will be playing a jockey and the other will be george wolf and a jockey will be playing charlie who was more admiral's jockey and goes to our very great jockeys. they got five derbies between them i think and the rest hasn't been cast yet. i am sworn to secrecy. it's a very impressive list of people. >> next question right back here. >> i was wondering if you have talked about the research. >> i was planning on a pity he
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did attend the match race and i read the stories, but i didn't quite get it. i'm sorry about that. >> [inaudible] why isn't the case that the race of seabiscuit and if you have jury duty or the mengin george wolf what is the correct for the people of the book? >> he's been much universally recognized as one of the best that ever lived. virtually everybody that i spoke to saw him as the best that they had ever seen. seabiscuit was in his time recognized as the equal man of
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war after this will give him that way. he was an icon in the sport. he won 20 of 21 and by 100 lengths. he is the michael jordan of the sport. i don't know if anybody is ever going to be compared to him other than the secretary, that seabiscuit was kind of forgotten after a while to read he was known only by history people even kind of forgetting him but hopefully that has changed. >> thank you again for a great book. it's my favorite book. [laughter] islamic it's still running. i have a huge collective of
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seabiscuit things at the national museum of racing and saratoga springs across the street from saratoga. >> dhaka of your research methods. >> i have things to research this book because i couldn't research it away in morrill writer what which is travelling around a lot and doing stuff that way. i had to be able to do it from home. i use the internet very heavily and one of the things i used a whole lot was ebay. i can't afford anything on ebay now, so seabiscuit at the time people were selling the programs and they were selling articles on him and they were selling all sorts of things of that type. so, i would just go out there couple times a day, type the name of the search engine and type the names of the people around him and i got all kinds of strange things. as it turned out to be enormous for my research process the
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strangest thing i got out there was a 1951 magazine called "sir" that have an extensive article on george wolf and at first i was so intrigued had to be to have george wolf got into a porn magazine. but i called all of his friends and checked the stories that for told in this article and they turn out to be accurate and retelling these people's stories made them think of more details about the stories, and it turned into this wonderful -- i think it cost me $2.50 but it was one of the most important pieces of my research. >> [inaudible] >> what do you think is the reason horseracing is no longer as popular as it was in seabiscuit's time, and what can be done to make it more popular? >> course racing is a lot more popular right now and people think. the on track attendance is not what it was, at least for ordinary days.
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for major races it is. the belmont stakes with the war emblem going through the triple crown for the largest to attend any sporting event in the history of new york. but the day-to-day attendance is smaller. the reason is the audience is spread out through off-track betting and simulcasting race is a different tracks. there are trucks there are no horse races them that people can wager on horses from other tracks. that said, it is not as popular as it was in the 1930's. a lot of that is in the 1930's the nfl and the nba didn't exist yet. they're also wasn't the proliferation of gambling opportunities. so, things have changed in that way to read it grew in popularity for quite some time and the biggest mistake that raising made was to not allow television. when television came out, they were not allowing a lot of major races to be shown on tv because they were worried people wouldn't bet on them anymore.
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television went to football and that hurt the sport a lot. it's coming back with a vengeance right now. all of the indicators are on the upswing for the races and i am very optimistic. >> there is no doubt that your [inaudible] >> we have a couple questions over here. >> what's your next book going to be? >> i get asked that a lot. i actually got a whole lot sicker once i finished the book. i told myself to write this book and i pretty much collapsed the day after i finished it. i didn't read anything for months after that. i still was only able to read a few paragraphs at the time. so, i had to get a lot healthier before i could write something else. i knew it would be in some place. it probably won't be racing. whatever interests me i will write about. >> when you describe the races i really felt like hearing and feeling what is your writing
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background? >> i've been around horses all my life. my family has a farm at near the antietam battlefield. the family took horses from the various places in the humane society and places like that and that is we wouldn't show kids or anything like that. we would just ride around with pieces of twine in the battle. i was around horses up until i was 66 continuously. and i fell in love with freezing. it was 1974. my father took me to charles town race track which is a whale back little place and the first course that i saw i was so stunned by how beautiful that was coming and that was it for me. i have been fascinated ever since. >> i was completely impressed by the amount of information that you could pick up from your
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home. it's just amazing. but - real -- my question is how he kept it such a completely -- he didn't tell anybody about it. >> the person that settled it is his daughter. it was okay to release the secret. but yes, he kept it very secret. the question i have is whether or not he told george wolf and i always worried about that. because that is going to be an important friendship in the movie. my guess is that george did know because there was one race where she was riding a horse, he was in front, and george waited until read looked to one side and george pulled the troops around and his head was turned so i think george knew she was taking advantage of it.
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>> we thank you very much for being here this evening. [applause] >> next from providence rhode island. he details the health of u.s. presidents while in office and how it impacts their decision on health care issues. his book is part of power health and politics in the oval office.
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sprigg in the 1930's beginning around 1935, franklin roosevelt's staff began to beg him to put national health insurance into law. they had the social security package going through congress, and roosevelt decided healthcare would destroy the entire social security bills and she said no and to get out but for the rest of this administration the staff said please, please, let's make a national health insurance part of social security. social security was becoming very popular. roosevelt was becoming a huge colossus in american politics. and in 1943, right in the middle for the war to come he decides i'm going to do it. world war two, the tide has turned and he's going to win the war. he's going to come home at the end of the war, bring the troops back and he's decided i need another crusade and that's going to be health insurance.
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they would win this thing through congress. the crowd goes off, writes the national health insurance package. there is one great memo in the archive in which somebody says health care is the most boring subject i've ever encountered. so we had a good laugh about and just as it arrives, roosevelt died certainly in april of 1945. this new guy doesn't know anything about harry truman, takes over and here comes this package really from roosevelt's great, national health insurance, truman grabs it and he makes it the cause of his life and no one knew it but it becomes his crusade. truman failed to win the national health insurance, but this idea come a national health insurance passes from every
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president to president. no president, liberal, moderate or conservative has been able to dhaka the national health insurance issued. this is terrible and will destroy american and on the one hand this is something that all citizens deserve on the other there have been some successes mainly from republicans and there's been some successes that there was an extraordinary achievement. >> we had a hypophysis as we say in the social sciences. we had a hypophysis. health care is the one area that all presidents know. they tend to be very sickly bunch. president by president you would be surprised how many health
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care problems they had to be the john f. kennedy got the last rites of the catholic church three times as an adult and his father was weeping by his hospital bed this was just a few years before he runs for president. so the hypophysis these are men who understand health and illness and by the way they are so sickly because the secrecy is more important than good health care but they don't get good health care at least that has been true in the past. and so of course during to be sensitive to health care issues. wrong, wrong. never was a hypothesis more refuted. they are tough guys. candy may be sickly but he wants to give the impression of health and it doesn't matter at all. what does matter interestingly the health of the people they loved. every president while in office conference the illness, take
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kennedy's case his father has a stroke. health care goes from i can t get or leave it to something that he is obsessed with. he won't stop talking about it so it goes on the daily briefing from about number 37 right of to number four or five. and in talks after talk and speech after speech, she describes his father's health problems and says i don't know how she's a wealthy man. i couldn't afford all the care that he's getting. i don't know how an ordinary person could. all of a sudden medicare, the program to pay for health care for people over 65, which is being debated at that moment, the comes from a side show in the kennedy administration to kennedy's obsession. this has been true president after president. someone they love gets sick and eisenhower conservative, his wife's mother has a whole episode in all of a sudden she is mr. health care.
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he doesn't think that he should submit a budget to congress because they should be the budget authority and now all of a sudden we have a year of health care she discovers health care in part because his mother-in-law gets sick so that's one thing driving the president's. but there's another thing. healthcare is problematic. people get sick and the problems of health care costs access to health insurance. america's health and general this is a problem that the can't avoid so they are driven by personal reasons because people they love get sick and the are driven because it is a problem that won't go away. it is an issue more complicated and convoluted but the president can't at. we went to every presidential archive and we studied with all of the members were written and so forth and discovered lots of unexpected things that are
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favorite stories is the lyndon b. johnson story so when we went to those archives, there were tapes while johnson had the same tapes going but they kept him hidden until two or three years ago in our book was one of the first ones that have access to the tapes. now lyndon johnson famously was president when medicare passed in 1965. but johnson himself tells in his autobiography he was resisting medicare and he stopped it singlehandedly as the chair of the ways and means committee she could do that, then after the 1964 election which was a landslide for the democrats, there was a markup of the bill. there were three bills before the committee that the administration proposal cover
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hospital care, the proposal just covered doctors' care and another proposal which suggested let's not cover people over 65 let's cover poor people. she was the great an antagonist of medicare and he sits back and says let's pass all three. the officials were at the time panicking what is he ought to and they go running by the way he says could you rewrite the bill and have it on my desk by 9:00 tomorrow morning. they go running to lyndon johnson and expect johnson to say item no to read instead he says i think i will call my brother. what are you talking about, mr. president? this is a story that is in johnson's autobiography. if you don't know that story, everyone knows that story.
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it turns out that as a young boy wants to be a switchman for the railroad and they tell them there is a switch train going south 40 miles an hour or and here's the switch. what do you do? and he looks up and says i think i will go call my brother. and they see that is in the right answer. why are you going to call your brother? they've never seen a train wreck before. so johnson says she went from the goat to the old folks. he did something no one expected. that is the story of medicare. johnson, a delight to the sidelines then we go to the tapes. as soon as johnson takes over he calls them and he says i need medicare, i need it bad. you've got to pass medicare for me.
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he says i've been fighting all my life i can't just turn it around and he says make it bigger. you will get all the credit. wilbur, this could make you vice president. now this was the five or six different tapes that we've heard from the quotes i just given us of the dots between them but johnson is relentless. he is the one that suggest put these different programs together. and were at first reserves to then he thinks about but at the end of the day they make a deal. at one point he is walking on to the floor of congress and this is never done. johnson is on the phone to one of the liaisons' and he hears the voice and it's completely to pravachol johnson says how does that move go? that is what he was calling medicare. what is remarkable is this bill
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passes in march of 65 and not until 2008 to rediscover that lyndon johnson was in on a secret. he managed to get all the credit to wilbur mills, and that wilder sun-times said, he sometimes admitted in interviews, to the interviewers without london this never would have passed. johnson was in on it from the very start coming in here is the lesson. she gave him all the credit. he didn't need the credit. he helped negotiate the bill, medicare is now three times the size it would have been. we now call medicare the original bill. medicare part b with a physician services, and medicaid, that was the third part, we got all of those because lyndon johnson made this deal with miles and then gave him all the credit. so we've right in this book we rewrite the story of medicare.
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we try to put a lot of this in the book called the politics feels, how you get it done. at the end of the local regional a series of lessons so we take each president and we talk about the politics of them getting health care and then at the end we have a final chapter and we say here are the lessons across all of the presidencies, again, from roosevelt to george w. bush and a series of lessons. lesson number one is moved fast. the concluding snippet of the lesson goes like this, the day after the election is savvy health adviser to announce to the president-elect and says mr. or madame president, triet we are almost out of time. when you win an election for a very brief moment, you have to see enormous amount of capital. that capital you lose that capital every single day and most presidents come into office
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and forget that. they think the people were chosen for the people that selected me that means they selected my agenda and that's true for about six months that agenda will dominate washington. after about july of the first year what's everybody talking about? the midterm election. everybody's running for the midterm and all the capital that you gained is gone. some presidents get this. johnson got it, george w. bush got it, she was very, very shrewd about cramming things through, and we believe the barack obama got it partially because she dragged the research. we have reason to believe that he would be advisers read this book and they got the move quickly so imagine there was a feeling in the administration to put health care off until things settle down a little bit. the point man for health care had a tax problem. he was suddenly no one great part of the administration team
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and a lot of people said its february of the first year let's put this off. some of the people in the room put it off and it never passed. now imagine if they had put it off to the point where bill clinton actually put health care on the congressional hopper that would be the first month of the second year january of 2010 what happens in january of 2010? scott brown wins the special election and health care would never have passed. lesson number one, move fast. there's lots of other lessons. one of our favorites is learn to lose. often you lose a case, but what do you do with your loss? example, harry truman loses health care, he fights like mad but he gets nowhere, she was terrible. he had no idea how to do it. but he kept fighting so he kept speeches and kept saying that the republicans, but do nothing republicans have done a terrible thing for the american people.
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he wrote letters to the next president so much so that when lyndon johnson passes medicare come a short version of the health insurance, national health insurance truman wanted for people over 65, he said we wouldn't be here today if not for harry truman. we are going to fly to independence missouri and sign the bill in front of him. his staff, johnson's staff, harry truman, everybody is going to socialize medicine because that is what the republicans called the truman bill. so they said that's socialized medicine. you don't want to do it. johnson says we are doing it so the flight to independence and medicare reassign was signed in front of an 82-year-old harry truman who then says if you are a little, this is the highest moment of the second half of the 20th century. lyndon johnson, the great liberal icon at least at the moment until he gets mixed up in vietnam turns to truman and he goes mr. president, only you can know how i feel as i sign this
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bill, and carry his voice breaking up since this is the happiest moment of my life. london hangs the card number one and truman by the we is standing behind. she's been in but you wonder what she thought. this is the happiest moment of his life, not some other moment, but be that as it may be bond. johnson's plight, and he makes it very explicit as he's signing the bill, the fight even though he lost, she fought and he fought and he fought. about made it possible for medicare to pass because it got the public used to the idea so one of the lessons is learn how to lose. well we wrote that it never occurred to us that another lesson might have been learn how to win. the obama administration has is health reform but they forgot the truman lesson. they let it go. they let the enemies of the legislature define the legislature, define the bill so
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it became a rather unpopular bill. we know from the public opinion polls that almost every piece of the bill is very popular but people don't know these pieces of the bill so you ask them do you want to stop pre-existing condition clauses and health insurance? yeah, 60, 70, 80%. do you like obamacare? no. piece after piece. endeavor argument, and we can see this from president to president, is health care is so complicated you have to explain it in simple terms that the public understands. presidents that fail to do that get punished. the huge anomaly of the obama administration is that they gaveled through congress, they won the legislation, but they failed to explain it on terms of people understand. the end of getting away with it as it turns out that a very high cost of the legislation itself. we are still battling about it, and about its implementation. learn how to lose coming and
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when of that lesson is. explain it to the public because it is too complicated for them to understand all the details. explain it in terms they understand. and ironically, the obama administration failed to do that. truman did a magnificent leap. you know who else did a good job? george w. bush. he had a medicare expansion, it was the largest medicare expansion in history. arguably the most conservative president in the second half of the 20th century. ronald reagan and george bush, both of them passed huge medicare expansions and both of them were really good at explaining it in my simple terms. ronald reagan had passed catastrophic medicare expansions and he says we have to worry about people going broke. now the republicans hated it and a year later the congress repealed it but reagan got it through and explained in a nice symbol term so for a while what
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was quite popular to beat was so convoluted that in the collapsing, and again bush got out there and explained prescription drugs are expensive. we are going to expand the pool. the details of the bill were hellishly complicated but bush didn't go into the details. liberals like to criticize bush for being simplistic that this case is simple explanation was very useful if. the actually like the expansion that is the sign of a very successful operator. someone that could manage to get republicans and democrats coming in at democrats with republicans to pass at an expense the public in my simple terms. it's never going to be repealed i would predict there was a successful president. he moved quickly, he explained it and nice simple terms and worked well with both sides of the aisle. three lessons for getting things through congress. let me tell you one other thing
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that's important. passion. this may seem obvious that presidents can go at healthcare sort of those that try to pass it or with a gusto. obama, w. bush, those presidents were successful because they cannot and gave everything to it. there were other presidents, jimmy carter, george bush the first, eisenhower, these are presidents that while the pursued health care and they didn't understand it, they didn't like it, the kind of push it halfheartedly and they got thwarted every time. this is too complicated and too big to do halfheartedly. so a lesson for national health care, the lesson for any major achievement either go big or go home.
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one thing that we really didn't expect to find is that republicans had by and large been more successful at health care reform than democrats. that is in a sense nixon going to china so that when we publican's take office everybody assumes we are going to go into a period of health care drought. but think about it. richard nixon comes in in 1968. he has been a very conservative politician for much of his life. he made his name in the what scares as a kind of minor league senator mccarthy, and yet right away he begins to think about how we can redo the national health insurance. and he comes up with very creative thinking. he said look people with private insurance aren't going to want to give up their private insurance. let's keep that and let's make
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national health insurance around private health insurance. he is the first one to say you know what, competition might be useful. let's see if we can work in the hmo and managed-care organizations so he put together a quite complicated but very sophisticated health insurance package. trivia question. who is the first president to get national health insurance through the committee in congress was richard nixon he gets it through by one vote and many for the son or grandson or daughters or granddaughters of richard nixon's proposal he can get national health insurance through, but we had an amazing how long ends between democratic congressmen and the nixon administration trying to get the national health insurance through. ronald reagan comes to power,
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ronald reagan was the great antagonist of medicare. you find it on youtube, the wonderful recruiting fighting against medicare if this program passes we will tell our children and our children's children what it was like in america when they were free and he is one of the people that call it socialism. ronald reagan gets into office and uses a diary. we got to pass catastrophic health care for the older people, and i hope i can do something for the working stiff, too. ronald reagan, when we were sitting in the archive reading his diaries and we think what is going on? and sure enough, republicans in the administration save the idea of expanding medicare to cover the catastrophic cost. in fact in the cabinet meeting, one cabinet officer votes for him. all the rest try to talk him out of it. no, we are going for this and he signs the bill and it collapses as soon as bush takes over
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it was have to cut in half republican. but notice it was ronald reagan that had the largest expansion of medicare out to that point in history who is the next largest? it is george w. bush. his staff tells the whole story. he decided he wanted an expansion of medicare to cover drugs. if you ten seconds late to a meeting when bush called it 1:00 and you came in ten seconds after 1:00, there are very graphic descriptions of what he did to people, and it was not nice. she had read the memos and he was incredibly well organized. he knew what he wanted. the george bush that emerges from these interviews that we did completely surprised us, and to a person including the staff,
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democratic staff in congress, they said this guy was focused and he knew what he wanted and he got it. nixon, ronald reagan and bush, three very conservative presidents had reached by the standards of the day each one of them who did these massive expansions of medicare or national health insurance. republicans had been surprisingly successful at getting health care. obama broke a string. first successful democrat getting a big major health care program through some since 1965. just one other story that's very important. when harry truman proposes national health insurance, the reader in the senate, the senate minority leader, the republican leader in the senate, bob taft wasn't a warm individual but he gets out and he calls this the most socialistic bill ever before this body and he actually walked out of the hearing with
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the battle the message has been cast in stone. every suggestion by a democrat for expanding health care views socialism treat people will remember how big a fight in the obamacare debate was remarkable coming and we tell the story clearly in the book. every single time in this socialism, it is the end of america as we know it. it is a huge rhetorical battle and it is always one-sided. the republicans, the opponents would say this is socialism. this is bureaucracy run amok. this is death panels. death panels stand in a very long legacy. the democratic response, no, no it's not, this isn't socialism. let us tell you the details of the bill. on the one hand a clear ideological message. on the forehand, panicked and vienna devotee to craft an alternative set of simple
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symbols. one of the questions we ask in the book as we go through the presidencies is why. why does national health insurance, much more than other pieces of legislation, much more than other issues, why does it create such broad debate and argument and in your as far as we can tell i think for reasons that we explain, complicated reasons, health care has become a symbol of the way that americans are. for democrats is a symbol of whether or not we as a society afford each of the basic decencies, so it goes to the heart of what it means to be liberal democrat. for the republicans, health care is an example of something that ought to be a private market good. the democrats try to take into the public sector so it goes to the heart of what a capitalist
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economy should be. that is the heart of the republican message. since 1935, both democrats and republicans have used a health care to answer the question who are we as americans. it's not about that it is about the definition of what americans are as each party sees it. so the definitions is what it means to the republican and democrat seems to come into play with these proposals. i ron plea that is why republicans have been more successful. they can actually has made some of their own parties to come along with their program. however, when republicans do that, the party base in said never for giving them. people love ronald reagan but they didn't like his medicare expansion. of the party base has never
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forgiven george bush for passing this medicare expansion end up costing them in the long run because they violate the fundamental principal of what it is to be republican. and likewise, for democrats, this goes to the heart of what it is to be a democrat. that's why our battles are so great, and that is the story that we tell. the story believed the story. we got into the archives and we look at these people as men but we also look at these debates and with the mean for their parties and for america itself. there are lots and lots of books on health care. some of them are books about health care policy. i've written some of them myself, and they are what is known as technical books. there are other books that look at the congressional process and some piece of it. as far as i know there are no books that go from president to president how these men as human beings grappled with healthcare,
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got into congress, went to the public. they look at the presidency as an institution and said a few and beings and how they grapple with what ends up being one of the great challenges for every president. there are very few kinds of legislation that take up every single presidency. what do they all have in common? they all had to deal with foreign policy. and they all had to deal with health care. so this offers a window into the presidency itself. and into the way that we've developed our health care system. it's a combination and i think that it's quite unique about this book. when people read our book - first thing i would like him to come away with is to see these
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presidents, every one of them as human beings we make such icons out of them. but the hour statutes, they are larger than life, but these are men to read some of being men and women with these are human beings with all the frailties that human beings have come and the first thing, the thing that really strikes you as you read in the archives and this is a complicated policy, you are right, but we see the humanities. you see of their strength and their weaknesses some things are just crazy. the prime minister of england calls at one point during the crisis, and richard nixon is too drunk to take the call and the white house is trying to figure out how we could the prime minister on because the president is strong -- drongen. she was a brilliant man and a pound of gray matter the smartest man that we see.
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he sits across from the oval office, the fireplace going. the air-conditioner turned on full because it summer and he writes in yellow pads. some of it is more willing. i have to be strong. some of it is a brilliant stuff. you read this and see the future of health care predicted piece by piece. all health care is in the shadow of richard nixon. these are in the archives, these yellow notes and you would say this is a political genius. at the same time this is a man who could be so gironde at night in the white house, tortured, hurt. the whole white house finally has henry kissinger explained to the people in england that the president is ill and he's in bed and he will have to call you back tomorrow morning. so you get a sense of the full package. not just a fair legal national
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health insurance bill, but he really had a handle on. you see the extent to which he understood health care. and also the extent to which he had to negotiate his own personal demons as he passed. take another example. jimmy carter to read jimmy carter's, was that he knew that he was smarter than everybody in the room. and he tried to get into such detail. so, at 1.8 memo goes around and jimmy carter would take notes with his fountain pen. you can see his handwriting and at one point in one of the health care memos she says and don't forget about psro's. this is a very obscure -- it means physician preview organizational which physicians get together and review with other physicians do. psro's, leader pro cade if you're the president of the united states you have no business down this deep in the weeds. jimmy carter got way into the
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weeds, so he's actually writing these minor interventions by physicians. and that was his problem. he got so into the weeds that he forgot the president's job is to tell the picture. jimmy carter's chief of real problem is he wasn't very good at articulating the big picture. which we don't see until we get into the archives. and i think when people read our book, they will get a sense of this. the president as an individual, his own personality was driving this kind of detailed look. so that's an aspect of the presidency and of health care. we don't think about it and get this guy, the individual really drives things forward. >> for more information on booktv's visit to providence rhode island and other cities visited by local content of vehicles, go to
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c-span.org/localcontent. ..